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Source: New Zealand Government

The Government has stepped up activity to protect kauri, with a National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) coming into effect today, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor and Associate Environment Minister James Shaw said.

“We have a duty to ensure this magnificent species endures for future generations and also for the health of our northern forests. A national plan provides the strongest form of protection from ‘dieback’ disease under the Biosecurity Act, and the plan comes as part of a $32 million injection of funding,” Damien O’Connor said.

“As Auckland Council’s long-term survey on kauri health in the Waitakere Ranges has shown, there are proven measures we can take to protect kauri and reduce the risk of spreading the pathogen that causes ‘dieback’ disease.”

Damien O’Connor said the NPMP would ensure national collaboration and consistency across all aspects of kauri protection. 

“Māori will be supported to lead kauri protection and funding will be provided to build capacity in iwi, hapu and whanau to deliver operationally, building on the baseline monitoring and surveillance undertaken in Year One of the plan,” Damien O’Connor said.

“That will involve assessing canopy health, extensively increasing baseline monitoring and aerial surveillance to determine where our healthy kauri are to protect, and where our infected kauri are, so we can halt the spread of the disease. It will also allow us to identify areas where we can potentially build kauri protection areas.” 

The first tranche of aerial surveys have been completed.

As part of the national plan, Biosecurity New Zealand has established a management agency, Tiakina Kauri, to work in partnership with mana whenua and with councils, central government agencies and NGOs to deliver a co-ordinated kauri protection strategy.  

Associate Environment Minister James Shaw said the work already done in partnership with mana whenua, regional councils, and the Department of Conservation to boost protections has laid the groundwork for the future.

“The Cooperation Agreement between Labour and the Green Party includes a commitment to protect kauri and improve our pest management programmes, so I am delighted to see this plan come into force this week,” James Shaw said.

“Over the past decade, the kauri protection programme has built a significant body of knowledge about the pathogen, its impact on kauri and how it can be managed. The work programme has included research, track changes, tighter regulatory restrictions on the movement of soil and plant material, alongside education and behavioural change initiatives.

“That knowledge has informed the national plan, which is an important step forward for Aotearoa in protecting kauri and helping to ensure the survival of our native taonga.”

Tiakina Kauri will now lead the development of the National Operational Plan, based on learnings from the Waitakere Ranges monitoring, Technical Advisory Groups, and a series of local meetings to establish regional priorities. 

The Government will approve the National Operational Plan in October 2022.

Read more about the National Pest Management Plan for the protection of kauri here.